- Malawian Prophet Shepherd Bushiri runs churches across Africa
- Bushiri claims to be able to cure HIV, blindness, lameness and all manner of illnesses
- The controversial prophet has amassed a vast personal fortune through his private business dealings
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has come a long way from his childhood surroundings in Malawi. He is one of the most revered (and controversial) religious leaders in Africa.
Bushiri runs churches across Africa stretching from South Africa in the South to Ghana in the North. On an ordinary Sunday, he preaches to a crowd of about 40 000 people and has on occasion attracted as many as 95 000 people.
Bushiri claims he can cure HIV, blindness, lameness and all manner of other illnesses and he even boasts that he can bring prosperity to impoverished people. He has even claimed to have walked on air.
Briefly.co.za discovered that people come from across the world to attend Bushiri’s Sunday service, he regularly receives congregants from the UK, USA and Asia.
Bushiri shrugs off allegations that he is little more than a scam artist. "My ministry is not for everyone, it is for those who have faith," he tells me. "I'm just a messenger of God's work. God heals people in our meetings. One time I got doctors here in Pretoria to bring patients with HIV - they tested them before to show they are HIV, I prayed for them and again afterwards and now they were HIV-negative," he said.
A large part of what makes Bushiri a controversial figure is his obvious vast personal wealth. While he claims to have derived most of his fortune from personal business dealings through his Shepherd Bushiri Investments company.
Is exact net-worth remains a matter of speculation but what is known is that he owns at least four private jets and a number of hotels.
Bushiri supplements his income by selling merchandise, items for sale include caps and t-shirts, but also items such as blessed miracle oil. Customers are told each product has been prayed over and has healing power.
The prophet claims allegations of wrongdoing are racist. "I am a businessman and that is separate from being a prophet. My prosperity is from private businesses. Such questions are not asked from leaders of white churches but when an African man prospers, then it's a problem."
Bushiri claims his obscene wealth is an inspiration to his followers because they believe if God helped him to get rich He will help them.
Do you have a story to share with Briefly? Visit our Facebook page where you can send us a message or leave us a comment. Your story could be shared online.